Memorandum by the British Chiefs of Staff
Québec, 15 August 1943. Most secret CCS 308
South-East Asia Command
- The vigorous and effective prosecution of large-scale operations against Japan in Southeast Asia, and the rapid development of the air route through Burma to China, necessitate the reorganization of the High Command in the Indian Theater. It has, therefore, been proposed that the Command in India should be divided from the operational Command in Southeast Asia as described below.
Command in India
- The administration of India as a base for the forces in Southeast Asia will remain under the control of the Commander in Chief, India. Coordination of movement and maintenance both of the operational forces based on India and of the internal garrison can best be carried out efficiently by one staff responsible in the last resort to one authority with power to decide priorities. This machinery exists today in the Government of India and in GHQ India. It is the only machinery which can carry out the dual tasks of meeting the internal requirements of India as well as the requirements of operations in the Southeast Asia Theater.
Command in Southeast Asia
- A Supreme Allied Command in Southeast Asia should be set up as follows:
a. The command and staff to be a combined British and American one on the lines of the North African Command.
b. The Supreme Allied Commander to be British, with an American deputy. He should have under him Naval, Army and Air Commanders in Chief, and also a Principal Administrative Officer to coordinate the administrative planning of all three services and of the Allied forces.
c. The Deputy Supreme Allied Commander and the Commanders of the three services mentioned above, acting under the orders of the Supreme Allied Commander, to control all operations and have under their command such Naval, Military and Air forces as may be assigned to the Southeast Asia Theater from time to time.
- The proposed boundaries of the Southeast Asia Command will be as follows:
a. Eastern Boundary
From the point where the frontier between China and Indo China reaches the Gulf of Tonkin, southwards along the coast of Indo China, Thailand and Malaya to Singapore; from Singapore south to the North Coast of Sumatra; thence round the East Coast of Sumatra (leaving the Sunda Strait to the eastward of the line) to a point on the coast of Sumatra at longitude 104 degrees East; thence South to latitude 08 degrees South; thence Southeasterly towards Onslow, Australia, and, on reaching longitude 110 degrees East, due South along that meridian.
b. Northern Frontier
From the point where the frontier between China and Indo China reaches the Gulf of Tonkin westwards along the Chinese frontier to its junction with the Indo-Burma border; thence along that border to the sea; thence round the Coast of India and Persia (all exclusive to the Southeast Asia Command) to meridian 60 degrees East.
c. Western Boundary
Southward along meridian 60 degrees East to Albatross Island, thence Southeastward to exclude Rodriguez Island and thence due southward.
- The Headquarters of the Supreme Allied Commander, Southeast Asia Command, should be formed in the first instance at Delhi, since it will take over elements of the present General Headquarters, India. The Supreme Allied Commander will submit his recommendations as to the ultimate location of his Headquarters as soon as he has had time to study the problem.
Division of Responsibility Between India and Southeast Asia
Conflicts of opinion over priorities in connection with administration must be anticipated. It will, therefore, be necessary for someone on the spot to resolve these differences day by day as they occur. This authority should be the Viceroy, not in his statutory capacity as Governor-General, but acting on behalf of the British War Cabinet.
The Supreme Commander will in any event have direct access to the British Chiefs of Staff on all matters, and if he is not satisfied with the ruling of the Viceroy on administrative matters, he will be able to exercise this right. The Commander in Chief, India, will continue to have the right of direct access to the British Chiefs of Staff.
- The above arrangements have been generally agreed between the President and Prime Minister, but the following points call for further discussion:
a. Deputy Supreme Allied Commander
It has been proposed that the responsibilities of General Stilwell as the Deputy Supreme Allied Commander should be defined as follows:
The Deputy Supreme Allied Commander, in addition to his duties as such, will command, under the Supreme Allied Commander, all ground and air forces at present under the United States Commander in the Southeast Asia Theater, and such additional United States and Chinese forces as may in the future be made available, and will continue to be responsible for the operation of the air route to China and for the defense of its India terminal. Furthermore the Deputy Supreme Allied Commander will continue to have the same direct responsibilities to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek as now lie with the United States Commander.
The British Chiefs of Staff are doubtful whether the above arrangements will work satisfactorily and would welcome discussion of them. They think it would be very difficult for General Stilwell to exercise executive command over a part of the land forces and a part of the operational air force.
b. Command Relationship
The British Chiefs of Staff consider that the relationship of the Supreme Commander, Southeast Asia, should follow as closely as possible, mutatis mutandis, the MacArthur model. Under this arrangement, the Combined Chiefs of Staff would exercise general jurisdiction over grand strategic policy for the Southeast Asia Theater, and over such relating factors as are necessary for implementing this policy, including the allocation of American and British resources of all kinds between the China Theater and the Southeast Asia Command. The British Chiefs of Staff would exercise jurisdiction over all matters pertaining to operational strategy, and would be the channel through which all instructions to the Supreme Commander are passed. It is understood that the United States Chiefs of Staff consider that the more appropriate Command relationship would be for the Supreme Commander to report to the Combined Chiefs of Staff following the Eisenhower model.
c. The Coordination of American Agencies such as OSS, OWI, FCB, etc., with Comparable British Organizations
It is proposed that all American agencies functioning in relation to the Southeast Asia Command, notably the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the Office of War Information (OWI), the Federal Communication Board (FCB), and the Office of Economic Warfare (OEW), having been placed by the United States Chiefs of Staff under the control of the Deputy Supreme Commander, these agencies should operate in conformity with the requirements of the Supreme Commander. To this end, the activities of these agencies in the Southeast Asia Command Area, whether conducted from within the India Command or from within the Southeast Asia Command Area or from other locations in Asia, should be coordinated with those of similar British agencies, such as the Far Eastern Bureau (FEB), the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), the Special Operations Executive (SOE), and the Ministry of Economic Warfare (MEW)
The British Chiefs of Staff consider that this coordination can best be arranged by agreement between the Supreme Commander, the Commander in Chief, India, and the Deputy Supreme Commander, in consultation with the Viceroy. These authorities should also decide the degree and method of liaison which it is expedient to establish between the American and their corresponding British agencies.